Friday, February 11, 2011

Shaking Scythes At Cannon: Tunisia, Egypt, On To Tehran.

A people, hardly marching - on the hike - we found new tactics happening each day: We’d cut through reins and rider with the pike and stampede cattle into infantry, then retreat through hedges where cavalry must be thrown. - Seamus Heaney, Requiem for the Croppies.

When the unrest began in Tunisia, most experts (myself included) said the country's long-time strongman, President Ben Ali, would crush it and survive. When he abruptly fled the country and unrest spread to Egypt, most experts (myself included) said Egypt was not Tunisia and that the country's long-time strongman, Hosni Mubarak, would crush it and survive. - .

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday claimed the uprising in Egypt heralded a new Middle East without the "satanic" influence of the West and that will doom Israel. (You just keep telling yourself that, Mahmoud. You're next.)

Our Jewish tradition tells the story of Exodus, in which our people stood up to a tyrant and to oppression to achieve liberation. This tradition reminds us to support the acts of liberation we are witnessing right now in many parts of the Arab world. - Jewish Voice for Peace.

CAIRO -Astonished and elated Egyptians poured into the streets across their nation on Friday, dancing, cheering and crying as they celebrated the long-awaited ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. A wave of joy swept across the country.

The pockets of our greatcoats, full of barley. . . Until, on Vinegar Hill, the fatal conclave. Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon. The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave. They buried us without shroud or coffin, and in August the barley grew up out of the grave.

The people will win. A requiem:


Blogger Bill Horne said...

I *think* Amel Mathlouthi's lyrics translate to:

"I am those who are free and have no fear. I am determination that doesn't die. I am the voice of those who do not give in. I am meaning in the middle of chaos. I am the right of those oppressed which is sold around by the dogs, who plunder the home's wheat and shut the doors before the blaze of thought. I am those who are free and have no fear. I am determination that doesn't die. I am the voice of those who do not give in. I am free and my word is free..."

At least, that's what's posted below this version:

3:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Here Jewish Voices for Peace thankfully--not only on this topics-- diverges with the Israeli government line and that of many called "pro Israel" groups/voices (Dershowitz in a debate versus the exceptional Mona Elwasasy went for the jugular--full out racist) who clung to Mubarak while essentially spitting on the protesters who have taught us so much about courage, determination and tenacity. Lets hear more from Jewish Voices for Peace and never forget those--Harper for us Canadians--who showing their true colours aligned themselves with despots and dictators. People in the street were fighting against, directly, Mubarak's thugs but also, by the positions adopted: the regions autocrats, leaders of the regions "only democracy" (who preside over one of the longest occupations), PA authorities, orientalists, racists,foreign policy "realists" and the list goes on. How many tired cliches and ideas have been smashed by those in Tahir Square this week? Congrats, Egypt!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

That's lovely, Bill.

That's odd, Frank. There is no country in the Middle East where the rights of Arab men and women are exercised so freely, no country in that whole quadrant of the planet where democracy shines so bright, as Israel. Odd you should pick out Israel for your outrage.

4:08 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"(Dershowitz in a debate versus the exceptional Mona Elwasasy went for the jugular--full out racist)"

What I saw was a rather vulgar big mouth of a woman unleashing her hatred at Dershowitz for daring to suggest caution was called for before vouching for revolution.

Somehow, protesting for democracy while exhibiting antisemitic placards does not quite harmonize with a real democratic movement. One would have expected it to include at least some voices that decry the hatred and antisemitism, some debate and challenge to a people supposedly interested in human rights and tolerance, two of the most important elements in a democratic ethos. An Egyptian equivalent of Jewish Voices for Peace, for example?

As far as I'm concerned, Caroline Glick summed it up well when she wrote:

"While we wish them the best of luck with their democracy movements, and would welcome the advent of a tolerant society in Egypt, we recognize that tolerance will end when it comes to the Jews. And so whether they are democrats or autocrats, we fully expect they will continue to hate us."

4:19 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

You know what? I'd really appreciate it around here if we could just once be just the tiniest bit happy. There is a time for everything else. This isn't it. Cheer the fuck up.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So, Contentious, I take it that you're a supporter of Jewish Voices for Peace or are they a rhetorical figleaf here? Anyways its significant--not suprising given their work-- that they are cited. Their campaigns are worthy of such backing. We seemed to have watched a different debate but that's okay. Even if the bigmouthed women you speak of is an ongoing advocate for women rights who--gasp who knew--has for decades decried religious oppression. Not even pithy solidarity offered by her debating opponent. The Egyptian movement--trade unions (who mobolized en masse twpo days back), average people, religious and secular, middle and working classes, coptics, muslim and atheist(a popular chant highlighted this fact)--was a paragon of kindness and dignity. I'm sad that you failed to see it. But it's celebration time. Long road ahead but our hearts are warm. Thanks you Egypt. ps Thought that i posted another reply too. Cheers

ps Lets as Canadians hold Harpers feet to the proverbial fire. One of the few governments in the world to openly champion Mubarak's sham transition plan. Good lord, eh?

4:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well said. Here this cheer us up. Beautiful. Stunning.

4:59 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Not even pithy solidarity offered by her debating opponent."

Hard to offer solidarity to a woman who screeches in your face, repeatedly, that you are a hypocrite. And who aggressively dominates the discussion with her rapid litany of invective. She could not be controlled, and left very little time to either Dershowitz or Gergen to put in a word. You might think that HE was her enemy, not Mubarak's regime. And perhaps he was. You seem to think so. You brought him into this thread.

Well, the Egyptian people will very soon have a chance to show their decency. And hopefully none of them will be able to complain that they are being indoctrinated by the regime if they fail that test, now that they are liberated. Let's see how the popularity in Egypt of Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the elders of Zion drops as a result of this new allegiance to tolerance and human rights.

Excuse me, Terry, for being unable to be even a little happy for such a society. You are asking me to turn the other cheek. That's not part of my ethos.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Ah g'wan, Centrist. Cheer up. I know you want to.

Turning one's cheek is what one is admonished to do after being struck the first time; not a practice I've indulged, not asking you to. I would not ask you or anyone to offer a cheek to that first blow, either, come to think of it. I just don't think it's coming. If I'm wrong and it is, it was always on its way, so best to be bold and meet it and have it all behind us.

As has been occurring in Tehran in recent years, I fully suspect not a few Egyptians are seriously asking themselves what the hell they were thinking to have bought into all that carry-on about how Israel was to blame for their woes. But if the going gets tough Israel is not going to get going anywhere. Israel has always had to prove that this time around, the Jews are staying put. Israel has had to prove it a few times already, and has done so ably.

If nothing about the new Egypt obviates the necessity of Israel proving this to Egyptians, then we're not ahead of the game, but not behind either.

I know - easy for me to say, all this distance removed. But I'm liking the Voice for Peace. Looks like barley coming up out of the grave to me.

10:48 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Maybe it was the wrong metaphor to employ. But I think you get my point.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I do. Now let's dance.

8:34 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Paradox and contrast
Variety and change
History repeats
But it's never the same
We've got this time
We've got this rhythm
Till the whole thing comes apart
Like light through a prism
and we dance and we dance
and we dance..."

10:10 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Good one. Another:

Wherever we go we celebrate
The land that made us refugees,
Our fear of priests and empty plates,
Of guilt and weeping effigies,
But we dance to the music, we dance.

10:39 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Odd you should pick out Israel for your outrage.

Is it really so odd, Terry? Methinks Frank is just another Brad/Ahmed/Whoever clone, with Israel on the brain. I mean, why the f*ck did he even bring Israel up in this thread? I suspect most of his "joy" vis-a-vis the Egyptian revolution comes from a fervent desire that whoever ends up replacing Mubarak tears up the treaty and prepares for war. Myself, I think much more highly of the Egyptian people than to think they would want to go that route again after 30 years of peace. And whatever the future brings, I congratulate them on their successful revolution. On to Iran!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

And a resentment, I suspect, that with all surveys everyone is suddenly undertaking of the tinpot governments of the Middle East, the one country that comes off looking good is: Starts with 'I', isn't Iran, isn't Iraq. Although the situation in Iraq, I shudder to say, also starts with 'I' (Improving), which must be driving the reactionary isolationists and Anti-Z's right bonkers.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Actually I saw the name of Jewish Voices for Peace and wanted to salute their position here and work. It's no coincidence that they find themselves on the right side of history while offering a fundamentally oppositional vision to many so called "pro Israel" group. Just saying. Our own focus here should be to hold Harpers feet to the fire. How shameful that Canada clung to Mubarak's "transition plan" while Egypt's citizens cried out for justice? A shame.

12:05 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: The right side of history.

If you say so. I suppose any side you happen to be on automatically becomes the "right side."

RE: Our focus should be to hold Harper's feet to the fire.

No, our focus should be to make sure what happens in Egypt remains democratic. Canada's so-called "shameful" position, to the extent that it matters at all, is only significant in the mind of the "franks" out there. Not to mention that it wasn't like Harper actually backed the status quo. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. And I wonder if Frank et al were as critical of Harper and Obama when they kept relatively shtum during the Iranian revolt after the June 2009 "election." Or is only Western-backed relatively soft dictatorships he likes to see fall, as opposed to those that wouldn't give a second thought to mowing their own people down in the streets at the slightest sign of opposition?

3:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

By the time that Harper got around to mouthing a better position he'd already publicly supported proceeding alongside the time frame and "reform" proposals put forward by a discredited dictator and allies. Yes, this is a tiny detail for others except it shouldn't be for Canadians, particularly those moved by the courage on display throughout Egypt. There's a difference between not, from the halls of Ottawa, calling for revolution in a faraway place justifiably hesitant about big power meddling, and actively siding with the Emperor, in the moment that he's been undressed.

2:13 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: There's a difference between not, from the halls of Ottawa, calling for revolution in a faraway place justifiably hesitant about big power meddling..."

Ah, so there's your rationale for absurdly dichotomous positions on Egypt and Iran. I'm sure all the freedom-loving Iranians in the streets today hoping to get rid of a much worse "emperor" than Mubarak ever was will understand your distinction.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Odd how we never hear any complaints about the big-power Khomeinists' meddling in Lebanon, Gaza, or in Afghanistan - where the richest ayatollah between Teharn and Beijing sends his gangs of thugs into the streets to beat up on Hazaras.

9:23 PM  

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